So last week, the family and I headed across the seas to Bali, to the beautiful town of Ubud which is in its tenth year of hosting the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. The theme this year was Darkness into Light and the star turns were Sebastian Faulks and Lionel Shriver. Other notables included Shamini Flint, the author of the Inspector Singh mysteries set in Singapore and Nury Vittachi, author of The Feng Shui Detective series.
We stayed in a tiny village called Jungjungan, surrounded by verdant green rice paddies and whilst the girls splashed in the swimming pool, we took the short journey into the hub of the town to sit in on various talks and events. A highlight of the Writer’s Festival was Shaken not Stirred: cocktails and canapés at the Amandari hotel with Sebastian Faulks in conversation with Nury Vittachi. It was particularly fascinating listening to Faulks talking about his new Bond novel. A beautiful setting with more than a dash of Rum Punch….
The next day, at the Neka Art Gallery, we listened to Lionel Shriver speak movingly about the theme of her novel, Big Brother and how the inspiration for it came from the death of her own brother from morbid obesity. She was a fantastic and inspirational speaker. Of course, she was asked about We need to talk about Kevin, but says she is pretty sick of talking about it! Interestingly, she was asked whether she found it hard to write such awfulness. Her answer was that the more upsetting it became, the more she loved it as she realised the impact it would have. Such is the stony heart of a writer…
Then it was my birthday! We drank martinis and ate short ribs at Ubud dining institution Naughty Nuri’s. And it was there that I found out that WARCHILD has been short-listed for the Impress Prize 2013! This is very exciting. Results to be announced some time in November. I”ll keep you posted!
Next time – the ins and outs of self-publishing and whether we should be brave enough to do it.